Leader Blues

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SPORTS >> Red Devils fall flat against Cabot, but knock off Sheridan

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers busted out of a hitting slump in a big way in a 12-7 win over Jacksonville on Friday at Dupree Park.

The Panthers belted 16 hits, including three by Cole Nicholson and Joe Bryant and a home run by Tyler Erickson, who also picked up the win on the mound.

Cabot roughed up both Noah and Tom Sanders on Friday. Noah Sanders lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and five earned runs. Tom Sanders went two innings and allowed five hits and four runs. The two combined to hit three Panthers and walk three more.

Jacksonville rebounded on Monday with a 9-7 win at Sheridan.

Despite falling into a 9-1 hole, the Red Devils tried to claw their way back into it, scoring three times in the fourth inning on Jacob Abrahamson’s two-out, three-run triple down the right field line.

But Cabot went right back to work in the top of the fifth to plate three more runs on singles by Ben Wainwright, Matthew Turner, Ty Steele and Nicholson.

Cabot relief pitcher C.J. Jacoby entered in the fifth and struggled with his control throughout his three innings of work. Jacoby struck out four, but walked six, including the first three batters he faced. But he was able to pick off a runner in the fourth and retire the final two Red Devils on strikes. Caleb Mitchell scored in the inning on a wild pitch to narrow the gap to 12-5.

Jacksonville left fielder Devon McClure saved a run in the sixth with a sterling defensive play. After Joe Bryant had doubled to center, Powell Bryant sent a sinking liner into left. McClure made a diving catch, then doubled up Joe Bryant at second base.

Jacksonville got within 12-6 in the bottom half after McClure walked, went to third on Terrell Brown’s single and scored on a wild pitch. Brown tried to score on the play, but Jacoby retrieved the ball and made a diving tag of Brown to end the inning.

Jacksonville loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on Patrick Castleberry’s infield single and a pair of walks. Seth Tomboli beat out an infield hit to drive home Castleberry. But Jacoby recorded his fourth strikeout to end the game.

“We just didn’t play hard,” said Jacksonville head coach Larry Burrows. “That was disappointing because we’ve hustled in every game since maybe the third game. I guess you can chalk it up to playing 23 games with lots of doubleheaders. Hopefully, we got it out of our system.”

The Red Devils close out 6A-East action this Friday when they host Marion. A split with the Patriots would earn Jacksonville a No. 2 seed in the state tourney.

Brown, who led Jacksonville with three hits, staked the Red Devils to a 1-0 lead after he singled and eventually scored on Logan Perry’s sacrifice fly. Castleberry was out trying to advance to third on the throw home when Wainwright gunned him down with a good throw.

Cabot sent 11 to the plate in the second, scoring five of them. Turner walked before Erickson gave Cabot a 2-1 lead with a home run off the light stanchion in right-center field. That was just the beginning of Cabot’s offense. Ty Steele, was hit and Nicholson, Brandon Surdam and Joe Bryant followed with singles to make it 3-1. An RBI single by Drew Burks and Wainwright’s sacrifice fly put the Panthers up 5-1.

Singles by Nicholson and Surdam, followed by an RBI double by Joe Bryant, padded that lead in the third. Powell Bryant brought in Surdam with a groundout. Cabot made it 9-1 with two more in the fourth, this time aided by two hit batters and a bases-loaded walk. Wainright and Turner singled in the inning.

Jesse Harbin came on in relief in the fourth to get a bases-loaded pop out to end the inning. Harbin allowed five hits and three earned runs over 3 1-3 innings.

Erickson picked up the win, though he hit three batters and allowed five hits and four earned runs. Jacoby gave up two hits and three earned runs.

JACKSONVILLE 9, SHERIDAN 7

Seth Tomboli and Tom Sanders had three hits each and Terrell Brown and Jacob Abrahamson added two more apiece as Jacksonville improved to 17-7.

Michael Lamb got the win, going five innings and allowing just two earned runs. Seth Tomboli came in to pick up the save, striking out the final batter with the tying runs on in the seventh.

Jacksonville had 15 hits, while Sheridan collected 13.